About the Author — Dr. Gary Wetzel
WORSHIPPING WITH GOD’S WORD: An Exhaustive Reference for Producing Scripturally Based Worship Services required over 34 years of dedicated work and many thousands of hours of my time to produce it. And yet, I am not its author. Instead, I am its editor. The actual author of WORSHIPPING WITH GOD’S WORD is God Himself. This is because it mainly consists of organized lists of scriptures from the Bible. And since God produced the Bible, then He is its true author. Yes, God is its author.
God the Father, Whose Will It Was to Produce the Bible
and Have It Preserved Down through the Centuries
Jesus His Son, Who Is the Word of God Who
Gave Us the Words of God
And the Holy Spirit of God Who Inspired the Bible’s Writers
What I am is the editor of WORSHIPPING WITH GOD’S WORD. For what I have done is to take what God has produced and to edit its contents into a resource that enables pastors and other worship leaders to be able to quickly find the best scriptures from the Bible that they want to put into their worship services for the purposes that they want them to accomplish.
God in his providence did not tell me in the beginning that I was to produce WORSHIPPING WITH GOD’S WORD for Him. If He had and told me that it would take me over 34 years and many thousands of hours to produce it and the 14,641 selections of scripture in it, I would have said, “Please Lord, not me!” Instead, it simply began when I started to informally write down scriptures that could be used in worship services while I was reading and studying the Bible as a seminary student. Then, in January of 1983, I started to do this in an organized manner. When I became a pastor in 1984, I continued to do it. This led into my doing a comprehensive search of the Bible for scriptures that could be used in worship services. By 1996 I had collected the scriptures which would become the basis for “All the Scriptures and the Best Scriptures to Use in 17 Ways in a Worship Service.” I would continue to work on it and improve it through doing eight revisions of its contents over the years. In 2008, “Scriptures on Our Freedom in Worshipping the Lord” was produced. Since most of the 17 ways to use scripture in “All the Scriptures and the Best Scriptures to Use in 17 Ways in a Worship Service” contained over 150 selections of scripture in them and five of them contained over 500 selections, I produced shorter versions of some of the best scriptures for each of the 17 ways in 2009.
The content for “The Best Scriptures to Use in 31 Worship Services Based on the Church and Secular Calendars” and “God’s Word and the Best Scriptures to Use in 23 Special Worship Services” were first produced in 2013. The content on “Why You Should Use God’s Word in Your Worship Services” was produced after this. All of the scripture selections in WORSHIPPING WITH GOD’S WORD that had been produced up to then using older versions of the NIV Bible next had to be redone using the 2011 version of the NIV Bible. This was completed in January of 2017. Also in that year, the other requirements of Biblica for my being able to use the 2011 NIV Bible were accomplished. In December of 2017, the work of producing an internet site for WORSHIPPING WITH GOD’S WORD was sufficiently finished so that it was put on the internet on its own site. Then, in the months that followed this, a number of improvements were made to it.
I first must point out that it was by God’s grace that I was able to produce WORSHIPPING WITH GOD’S WORD. And I want to thank the Lord that He enabled me to persevere through the long journey that it took to do it. It was done out of my love for Him and his inspired truth in the Bible which can positively transform a person’s life when they apply it to their own. This has happened in my own life in many ways and it helped to give me the motivation to complete it. If you want to learn more about this and my life’s personal journey with the Lord, then please continue to read on.
I was born in Spokane, Washington in 1949. Since my father was a career military officer and I was single into my thirties, I have lived in many different locations including every major part of the United States as well as in Asia and Europe. I thank God that my parents took me to church and Sunday School while I was growing up, because when I was a senior in college at Mississippi State University, it helped to lead me to Christ and becoming a Christian. At the time, I was a hippie and not interested in making Jesus the Lord of my life or in carrying out the disciplines of the Christian life. Therefore, when I went into the Army during the time of the Vietnam War, my emotional and spiritual life collapsed, including my relationship with God, as Jesus taught about in Matthew 7:24-27.
While I was in the Army I pursued a career in electronics which I continued with after my discharge and while I was living with my parents in New Orleans. During this time, the youth director of the church I was attending led me back to the Lord and I made a complete commitment of my life to Him. As I began to carry out the disciplines of the Christian faith, God began to set me free from a number of bad habits and addictions that I had picked up as a hippie and while I was in the Army. God also began to set me free from years of self-rejection, fear, failure, and depression. I also became very involved in the Oak Park Presbyterian Church where I was a member. I became an elder, a Sunday School teacher, the co-director of their VBS, a member of the Christian Education Committee and of the Witness Committee, and a leader of their young adult Bible study. I then realized that my heart was not in electronics, but in the wonderful things that God can do in a person’s life. So I left the electronics repair shop that I was working at and began to put myself through seminary.
While attending Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts, I also worked as a ward chaplain and an assistant chaplain at two state mental hospitals in that state, as an intern pastor on the staff of Bethany Presbyterian Church in Bloomfield, NJ, and as the chaplain of a Boy Scout camp. This is when I also began to informally write down some scriptures that could be used in worship services. I graduated from seminary in 1981 with a Master of Divinity degree and married my wife Joan that same year. We then served the Lord together as the youth directors of the Bethany Presbyterian Church. I also worked for an overnight dictation service and sold automobile parts to make ends meet. I next served as an intern pastor on the staff of the Collingswood Presbyterian Church in Collingswood, NJ, from July of 1982 until July of the following year. It was during this time that I first began to formally write down scriptures from the Bible to use in worship services.
In 1984 I was ordained and became the pastor of the Garwood Presbyterian Church in Garwood, NJ, where I served the Lord and his people for 26 years. It was during this time that a great deal of work was done on WORSHIPPING WITH GOD’S WORD. Also, in 1984, our only child, Christine, was born. She is now a top ranked public school mathematics teacher in Green Brook, NJ. In 2010 I graduated from the Theological School of Drew University in Madison, NJ, with a Doctor of Ministry degree. Later that year Joan and I moved to our current home in Lakewood, NJ, where I continued to do a great deal of work on WORSHIPPING WITH GOD’S WORD. In 2017, I finally completed it and put it on its own internet site for anyone to use for free.
Currently, my wife and I lead two Bible studies each week in our home for the residents of the Fairways adult community that we live in. I also do substitute preaching and the leading of worship services for churches. And, very importantly, I look over and evaluate all of the suggestions that are emailed to me of how to improve this reference work in order to determine which ones will be put into it as the purpose of WORSHIPPING WITH GOD’S WORD is to be an ever-improving resource for the use of God’s universal Church around the world.
My hope and prayer is that this reference work will encourage you to take God’s inspired Word of truth from the Bible and put it into your worship services so that it can enter the hearts and minds of your people there and accomplish its wonderful purposes in them for the benefit of their lives and the lives of the people they touch.